Friday, September 24, 2010

Nehemiah 8:13-18

13 On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the scribe to give attention to the words of the Law. 14 They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month 15 and that they should proclaim this word and spread it throughout their towns and in Jerusalem: "Go out into the hill country and bring back branches from olive and wild olive trees, and from myrtles, palms and shade trees, to make booths"-as it is written.
16 So the people went out and brought back branches and built themselves booths on their own roofs, in their courtyards, in the courts of the house of God and in the square by the Water Gate and the one by the Gate of Ephraim. 17 The whole company that had returned from exile built booths and lived in them. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated it like this. And their joy was very great.
18 Day after day, from the first day to the last, Ezra read from the Book of the Law of God. They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly.
Questions to consider:
  • Describe the scene of this, the second day.
  • What do they do during the feast?
  • What is the result of the people’s understanding of the law?
  • To what extent are you obedient to the things of God’s word that you understand?
  • What is the result of the obedience of the Israelites?

Possibilities for prayer:

This is a pretty cool example of obedience to what God has commanded. It seems especially appropriate in response to the fact that God has provided so much to allow the wall to be rebuilt without serious incident. The Israelites were obviously grateful for God’s provision, and offered up prayers of thanksgiving (see yesterday’s passage), but they do more than just say thank you. I think is relevant for us as well. God likes it when we acknowledge His provision and offer our own prayers of thanksgiving, but one way that we can truly show God our gratefulness is to be obedient. Today, let’s ask God to transform our hearts to be more obedient to Him. Let’s ask God to show us ways where we have not been as obedient as we could be, and make an effort to change those behaviors, thoughts and/or actions.